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Have you ever seen an ancient ruin and wondered how old it is?
In this lesson, you will learn about how scientists estimate the age of things when they are not sure using predictable decay rates.
Having learned earlier that all the atoms of an element are identical and are different from those of all other elements, students now come up against the idea that, on the contrary, atoms of the same element can differ in important ways. 79.) In this lesson, students will be asked to consider the case of when Frosty the Snowman met his demise (began to melt).
The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials.
Carbon-14 is a material with a well-known half-life: 5,730 years.
This process works for best for organic materials, anything that is (or was) alive.
When carbon-14 decays, it doesn't just disappear; it changes into another form of carbon.
Radioactive dating is how scientists figured out that the Earth is billions of years old! When things disappear or grow with time, we can tell how long they have been disappearing or growing by measuring the amount of 'stuff' that is still left inside of them.
Imagine that you had a box of chocolates, and you ate one half of them every hour. Then after another hour, you would have a quarter of the box left.
We will discover what a half life is and why it is important!